NITROUS OXIDE – LAUGHING GAS TO BECOME ILLEGAL NEXT MONTH Dealers face 14 years in jail
Nitrous oxide will be illegal from next month as part of a government crackdown on anti-social behaviour, it has been announced.
The substance, also known as laughing gas or NOS, will become a controlled Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) from 8th November.
Serial users could face up to two years in prison while the maximum sentence for dealers has doubled to 14 years behind bars, the Home Office has confirmed.
People caught with nitrous oxide with the intention of wrongfully inhaling it to get high could also be handed an unlimited fine, a “visible” community punishment, or a caution, which would appear on their criminal record.
The new law comes after ministers vowed to take action on “flagrant” drug taking in communities, with nitrous oxide linked to anti-social behaviour including “intimidating gatherings”, while empty cannisters are often discarded in public spaces.
Heavy users expose themselves to significant health risks including anaemia, nerve damage and paralysis, while nitrous oxide also has the potential to cause fatal drug-diving accidents.
The drug is the second most commonly used drug among 16 to 24-year-olds in England after cannabis, amid growing concerns about health problems caused by its usage